Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck….
BAD LUCK: Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs.
GOOD LUCK: Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.
BAD LUCK: Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Vinnie’s messing up local stoner Walter “Moon Man” Dunphy’s vibe and making Stephanie question genetics.
GOOD LUCK: Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out, a plan that makes Mooner’s Hobbit-Con look sane, and Uncle Pip’s mysterious bottle, they just might raise enough money to save Vinnie and the business from ruin.
BAD LUCK: Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter. In Trenton, this involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a Turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles.
GOOD LUCK: The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky—the only question is . . . with whom? Sizzling Sixteen . . . so hot, the pages might spontaneously combust!
Sizzling Sixteen finds Vinnie being held for a debt owed to a bad man, who owes money to an even worse man. Stephanie, Lula and Connie set out to find and rescue Vinnie. Vinnie may be a turd, but they need their jobs and they do not necessarily want Vinnie to die.
I am feeling a little blah about the last two Plums. The story was better in Sixteen, but I am just not feeling that old Plum magic. Ranger and Morelli have taken a back seat in the last two books, though Ranger has had more time than Morelli. This would be ok if there was something making up for the absence, like a great mystery or the typical Plum antics. Some of the scenes with Stephanie and Lula seem forced, but others are completely hilarious. In Sixteen, Lula is on the "one" diet, meaning she can eat just one of anything and Lula's interpretation of the rules is exactly what you expect and will have you giggling (this is where I should apologize to the people sitting near me on the train while I was reading - I'm sorry, I just couldn't keep the laughs in!).
Sixteen was a funny, enjoyable read, I just miss that "can't get enough" feeling I had with books 9 through 12...